Not too many Premier Soccer League (PSL) fans would have wished for a better start to the 2020/21 season other than the clash between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The Tshwane giants begin their defence of the league title away to the side they snatched it away from in the final half hour of the campaign last season.
Kaizer Chiefs vs Mamelodi Sundowns: PSL match preview
It will no doubt be a grudge match, especially on the side of the Glamour Boys, who had led the title race for more than a year in what was an extended campaign.
Despite the short turnaround time between seasons, both sides have experienced profound changes in personnel, most notably in the way of technical staff, as they go into the fixture sporting new men at the helm.
Chiefs have roped in an experienced head in Gavin Hunt – who has four league titles to his name – to replace Ernst Middendorp. This is after the club showed the German the door for the second time.
The ex-Bidvest Wits mentor arrives at the club at a tricky time, with a transfer ban looming over the club.
PSL team news
The Soweto giants have already lost out on reported targets going into the new PSL season, and might just have proceed without any new additions to their squad, pending the outcome of their appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Hunt has admitted to preparing for the worst-case scenario, in case the ban is not lifted.
“Obviously if you look the market all the best players who were available for clubs to take have been taken. But there are still opportunities‚ if a situation arises,” he said in Thursday’s pre-match press conference. “But‚ as I said‚ I just work on the basis that it [the appeal] is not opening up‚ let’s just work with what we’ve got and try and make that better and harder to beat‚ and win games as well.”
Gavin Hunt, Kaizer Chiefs coach
While Chiefs were in control of who steers their ship in the new season, it is not the case with Sundowns, whose long-time head coach Pitso Mosimane has pursued a new challenge with Egyptian giants Al Ahly.
The champions have taken an unconventional route in appointing two head coaches is – Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena – with ex-Amakhosi mentor Steve Komphela also roped in to report to the duo.
Unlike their opponents, Sundowns have had no issues in bringing players in, resulting in what is no doubt a good selection headache for Mngqithi, whose opinion is said to prevail over his two colleagues.
“With the quality we have, we also have to be considerate that maybe we can have two very balanced squads and we will be putting ourselves in a better space when we have a lot of travelling and games in Champions and the domestic league,” he said after Sundowns were knocked out of the MTN 8 by Bloemfontein Celtic.
Manqoba Mngqithi, Mamelodi Sundowns coach
Kick-off time and where to watch
The match kicks off at 15:30 (SAST) and will stream live on the PSL channel (202) on Supersport.